Bikers unhappy, opportunity for Goff?

by Jake Quinn

So the Bikers are very displeased. The ACC levy on their bike registration is going up big time as part of changes Nick Smith is making to ACC.

The Press reports:

Motorcyclists say there will be loud protests against the proposed $500 ACC levy increase on large bikes. “It’s ludicrous – what are they thinking of?” Motorcycling New Zealand chief executive Paul Pavletich said. Owners of bikes over 601cc will see their annual ACC levy increase from $252.69 to $745.77 under the proposal.

It is going up, obviously, because motor cyclists have more serious crashes (or the crashes they have, do themselves more damage) and require more ACC.

The stats are here and point out that the risk of being involved in a fatal or injury crash is more than 18 times higher for a motorcyclist than for a car driver over the same distance travelled.  So the fee increase is simply putting the cost at the cause and although unpopular, it makes some sense.

Now remember how Phil Goff turned up to the Labour Party Conference on a Triumph?

His love of two wheels puts him in an interesting position.  He and Labour can oppose this increase (without looking too cynical) and look like they’re battling on behalf of hog-loving-kiwi-blokes against the ever hungry bloated bureaucracy.

This is surely the kind of constituency that Labour wants to target now; you know, those ‘Waitakere men’ who left in their droves last election to vote for National.

What’s more, an online stuff poll shows more than 80% of its readers think its unfair and that motorcyclists should pay the same as car drivers.

So Goff would be on the side of the people. But the problem is that he might also believe that increasing the fees makes sense. Oh well.

This issue, like the road user charges increase under the last government, has the potential to turn into a real headache for National.